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DCS School Matters - April 10, 2015

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I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and have enjoyed the week of Spring Break.  I want to give  you an update on where we are with building the new Davie County High School.  Last week we  experienced a "bump in the road".  I have learned over the past four years that this project brings surprises and challenges around every corner, however, when those "bumps in the road” arise, we do not give up, but look to develop a solution that makes it possible to move forward.
 
The rough grading that started last fall is almost complete.  Phillip and Brandon Shore, and their team at Davie Grading, have done a fantastic job preparing the site and the building pad is now ready for construction.  On March 31st, we opened bids for the construction of the school.  There were four general contractors who submitted bids and all bids exceeded the estimated budget.  As you can imagine, we were shocked and disappointed to see the bids come in so high.  We have since learned that construction costs over the past 6-8 months have increased 15-20%.  This high school project is the FIRST high school to be bid in North Carolina since April of 2013.  It is evident that the economy has recovered, there is plenty of work for contractors, and construction costs have spiked rapidly.  After the shock, we quickly came to the realization that we have a problem to solve.  Several of our staff, Chairman Chad Fuller, and Vice Chairman Clint Junker, have spent numerous hours discussing the project with architects and contractors looking at different options to reduce the overall cost of the school.  We feel confident that we will be able to make the necessary adjustments to be within the parameters of the available funding approved by voters in Davie County and committed by the BOE, and keep the project on schedule.
 
In May of 2014, the people of Davie County voted to allow the Board of Commissioners to issue $54.5 million in school bonds. The Board of Education committed $2 million in NC Lottery funds towards the project.  The school bonds totaling $54.5 million are scheduled to be sold on April 21, 2015.  The county will pay back $54.5 million plus the associated interest.  This past Monday evening, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution 4-1 to issue the voter approved bonds and, in addition, allot to the school project the premium associated with the sale of the bonds.  I want to thank the commissioners who support the high school project that the people voted to build.  I especially want to thank County Manager Mike Ruffin, County Attorney Ed Vogler, the County Finance department, and all of the other county staff who have worked diligently with us throughout this process.  The relationship and communication between the County Manager, Superintendent, Board of Education and Board of Commissioners has never been better.

We will be providing the Board of Education an update on Tuesday evening, April 14th at 6:00 pm, but no action will be taken on a contract at that meeting.  The Board of Education cannot sign a contract with a general contractor until the school bonds are sold on April 21st.  Over the next few weeks, we will work to finalize plans so that the construction process can begin.  Sacrifices will have to be made and some adjustments to the original plan will be necessary, but we will come together once again to address this "bump in the road".  We look forward to seeing work crank up again in May, and I cannot wait to see our students walking into the new Davie County High School in August of 2017.

Look for another edition of School Matters  soon with updates on student accomplishments and upcoming events.  Thank you for your continued support.  There are great days ahead!
 

Darrin L. Hartness, Ed. D.
Superintendent

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